Malaria is a disease of the tropics and sub-tropics which is transmitted by infected female Anopheles mosquito. Malaria is one of the major infections challenging this part of the world. This leads to loss of lives every year especially children and mothers. The use of laboratory methods has become necessary because health workers cannot identify malaria cases reliably using clinical signs and symptoms alone. Conventionally, light microscopy of a blood smear is the reference gold standard for the detection of malaria parasites and the established method for the laboratory confirmation of malaria. It can detect malaria parasites even at low densities of 5-10 parasites/μl of blood when used by skilled and careful scientist. However, malaria diagnosis based on microscopy is labour intensive and time-consuming. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are recommended by WHO to enhance diagnosis and management of case prevention of complications of declared treatment, prolonging survival and monitoring of treatment especially in children. More research should be done in RDTs for higher sensitivity and specificity. Health workers especially medical laboratory scientist and clinicians should not neglect microscopy which is the gold standard for the diagnosis of malaria. Life is precious and should be carefully handled.
Emmanuel Ifeanyi Obeagu, Chijioke UO and Ekelozie IS